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Charlie Rose

News/Business. (2012) New. (CC) (Stereo)

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Serena 13, Us 11, Charlie 9, Boehner 9, Mcchrystal 8, Keating 6, Afghanistan 6, Obama 5, Ian Mcewan 4, London 4, Jake Tapper 3, Ornstein 3, Bloomberg 2, Europe 2, Taliban 2, Egypt 2, Newt Gingrich 2, Stan Mcchrystal 2, Ben Keating 2, Zach 2,
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  PBS    Charlie Rose    News/Business.   
   (2012) New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    December 13, 2012
    12:00 - 1:00am PST  

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be. we sanitize the war here in the american media, taking our queues from the public. they don't want to talk about the war much at all,. >> rose: we continue with ian mcewan the great british novelist whose latest book is called sweet tooth. >> if you want to get to the heart of an emotional scene, two-lovers having a quarrel, say, to get into the reader's eye, the precise visual components of the scene, where they are, what they look like, how -- everything there, you then have the quickest route into the emotional part of it. >> rose: we conclude this evening with norm ornstein, he is author of it's even worse than it looks, how the american constitutional system collided with the new politics of extremism. >> we have reached a small amount of the dysfunction out of the with in past election. you have got more republicans who recognize that it is no longer in their interests to let us go over any cliff, because of
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short term politics will work to their advantage, the tax issue which has been the difficult part, the super committee we have it i call the avengers in politics, with powers untold in our history, that couldn't reach an agreement because the taxes, republicans wouldn't agree to any significant increase in taxes now they are talking to amounts that will reach that point and i am confident we will get something done. >> rose: jake tapper, ian mcewan, and norm ornstein when we continue. >> funding for charlie rose was provided by the following. >>
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>> rose: additional funding provided by these funers. and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide.
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from our studios captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: one of the deadliest battle office the war in afghanistan took place on the morning of october 3rd, 2009, nearly 400 taliban fighters attacked 53 american troops stationed at a remote military base known as combat outpost keating, a, eight soldiers died, a pentagon investigation revealed the outpost had no strategic value, jake tapper is a senior white house correspondent for abc news at a hospital holding my newborn son when he heard the tragic report, that story compelled him to report about it, he documents his findings in a new book, the book is called the outpost to an untold story of american central lohr. author john i can't your writes if you want to understand how the war in afghanistan went off the rails you need to read this book. i am pleased to have jake tapper
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back on this program, and especially at this table .. lcome. >> thank you, charlie, it is great to be here. >> rose: take me to the time you saw this story, because you are a busy man, you know, a newborn. >> yeah. >> rose: and you read this story and it says what do you? >> well, you know, moment that you are holding your child is always a poignant moment. >> i am holding my son in the recovery room amend it is a wonderful moment, and then i look up and out of the corner of my eye i see in the little hospital tv this report on cable news or whatever about this outpost, and immediately, it was clear from the reports that this outpost was in an unbelievably vulnerable place at the bottom of three steep mountain, just 14 miles from the pakistan border, and the troops there felt like sitting ducks. and in many ways they were, and i am holding my son, and i hear
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about eight other sons taken from us, and i just had to know more. i can't really explain it, if somebody had said at that moment you are going to write, you know, a lengthy book about this, it would have been surprising to me. >> rose: were you looking for a story that you wanted to write about, to write a book, it just happened? >> it just happened, the story spoke to you and. >> i am not a military reporter or war reporter, i had been to iraq once and covered from the baghdad bureau for a couple of weeks but never had been to afghanistan, the since i have been a couple of times but no, i had been reporting on the war from the comfort of the north lawn of the white house and, you know, but it is the washington coverage, obama versus mcchrystal and competent address coming, petraeus and replacing mcchrystal and what is the troop going to be, 10,000, 40,000, and, you know, it is superficial, i am only going to talk about my own coverage, that is superficial coverage and that is what i was doing.
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it is political, and it is treating troops as if we are talking about, you know, manufacturing, you know, some sort of toy, 40,000, 20,000, and for whatever reason, combat outpost keating slapped me out of that, i can't explain it, and i just had to know more about who these eight men were that were killed, why is there this mystery, why would anybody put an outpost there what is it like to wake up and be facing and out numbering force, seven to eight, seven to eight or one of ferocious taliban fighters, all of these things that i had just kind of not paid any attention to. >> rose: so at the end of the day it is a story about what? >> >> at the end of the day, it is a story about reckless decisions by commanders and unbelievably heroic and selfless troops. >> rose: and where does that
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courage come from when you write a story like this? because you interview the people who survived. >> i interviewed 225 people, almost all of the 45 men who survived the attack. >> rose: and what did they say about what their mindset was as this was happening? and what is the imperative of the moment and do they think this is it, man there is no way we are getting out of this alive. yes, they did, a number of them thought that, it has been nice working to you, that was said a few times and there were a number of moments that i heard about that i put in the book of people accepting that they were going to be killed. >> rose: right. >> noticing that the sky is really blue and the grass is really green and they are not going to the leave this particular. >> rose: there is the day i die. >> yes, it happens a number of times. one thing that comes back over and over is the selflessness of these men, these troops, all eight of the guys who died to a man died doing something self less, either returning fire, the
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first one killed, private kevin thompson, young private from reno, nevada, and he runs out to man his station in the mortar pit, and he gets shot, every one of them running out to deliver ammunition, specialist michael skuza good shot, everyone doing something to help someone else, it is a kind of self lessness, that we don't see in our dae day to day lives here when it happens here when a policeman the buys a pair of boots for a homeless man it is the front page of the newspapers, it is every hour in afghanistan somebody doing something like that for one of their fellow men. >> rose: and when asked about it they say? i was only doing my duty. >> or they say i am nothing. whawhat i did was nothing, you should write about him, what i did is nothing you should write about hill. what i did was not a big deal, you know what i feel bad about is this. there are guys that survived
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that did unbelievably heroic things, i was in the room with one kid, zach, raised a mennonite in ohio, and he was man ago battle station, all day for 12 hours in this humvee that was getting torn apart by overwhelming taliban forces, mortars, rockets, bullets, and i was, just remarking to him, zach, i would have run to the dining hall and gotten under a table, i mean, how did you stay out there? >> he is like, he is embarrassed that he wasn't doing things as brave as everyone else was doing. i am like, you were doing your job, you were supposed to be at that table and you were supposed to be manning but these other guys were delivering ammunition and roam say, he was leading the battle to retake the other side of the camp. zach, you are so brave, doesn't think he is. >> rose: you also write that you had to decide how honest you
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would describe the horrors of war. >> this is really tough. this is a really difficult thing as a writer and as a journalist. because the point of this book for me was to have people like me who have not been-even though i read the newspapers and pay attention and have been covering the war to snap me out of my tumor. and to have people understand in a way that i now understand what it is these troops go through. one of the things they go through is unbelievable pain and in some cases death. and that was a very difficult decision for me, how honest to be. we sanitize the war here in the american media, taking our cues from the public. they don't want to talk about the war much at all. they are wary of it and it has been going on for so long. i don't want to cause pain to the families who don't know the details of how their husbands or sons died. but actually i talked about bob woodward about it and he was very helpful in mentoring, and
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he said, you need to ten the, tell the truth so i did. >> rose: tell what you know? >> i held back a little bit. >> rose: what kinds of things would you hold back? >> a brain being pulp, i didn't think i needed to use that word from bullets, pulpify. >> something to the ribs. >> rose: what can happen to the ribs. >> rose: we saw some of that with steven spielberg when we saw the movie about d-day that was the thing about the movie that made it different from other movies. >> i remember. >> rose: limbs being ripped off and that kind of thing. >> when i saw private, staving private ryan i needed a drink just seeing the movie and it was hollywood so this is real but i felt like ultimately i had to be honest, there were other things that were difficult decisions to make, one of them was, one of the soldiers who dies in the book and the back trace it is whole history of the outpost from 2006 to 2009, one of the, one of the soldiers who was
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killed at the time he was killed, the biggest thing on his mind was he was a husband and a father, he also had a girlfriend, and she had just had a child,. >> rose: so. >> he had two families. >> he had two families, it was a secret and racking him with guilt and felt he needed to get right about it with god and talked a lot about it with my friends but i knew if i reported on it i would be airing dirty laundry the family didn't necessarily want out there but ultimately. >> rose: about a dead man. >> about a dead man and ultimately the point is, and i have heard mark bowl in his interview about you about zero dark 30 talk these are ordinary doing doing extraordinary things these are ordinary people and i didn't think it helps the book to sanitize who these people were so i wrote about their fights and about their personal struggles and the fights they were having with the wives at home.
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>> from the moment you read that story, holding your baby, to this book, how did the story change? >> well, in i believely. >> that you wanted to write. >> initially the book was just going to be about the men in the battle. >> rose: right. >> 2009. >> 361 kav. >> but then other people who has served at that outpost reached out to me, because they heard that i was writing the book. they saw mike allen wrote a piece about it in politico's playbook and. >> a young captain which set up the outpost, he wanted me to write about, staff sergeant jerod monty who had been killed, won the medal of honor posthumously and write about his brothers and lieutenant dave roller, he wanted me to write about his commander who had been killed and the fact they had some success there is in that valley, but the outpost wasn't all meaningless and for nought,
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they had actually done some things, so it became, as these troops became invested in the projects, it became a much larger and much more comprehensive study and i think, hopefully a better book because it is a narrative. >> and what is the role of stan crystal, of stan mcchrystal, the former commander of troops in afghanistan who later had to leave? >> stan mcchrystal makes a decision to lay the closure of the outpost. the men who come in, colonel randy george and lieutenant colonel brad brown they come in to take control of this area of operations which includes combat outpost keating in may, june, 2009 and they present mcchrystal with scenario what they call in the military realignment, closing down a bunch of camps. >> right. >> they see a bunch of camps that have no strategic or tactical value and want to close them down before anyone gets
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killed. >> and mcchrystal says no, they delays it. and by the time they make plans to close down the catch it ultimately proves too late. >> rose: does he regret that? >> i did talk to him on background for the book, he did not express regret, he explained his reasons, there are reasons and guy through them in the campaign called the generals competing considerations there were a lot of reasons one of which is there were not a lot of helicopters and assets in the country, even after president obama started surging. and some of the ones they wanted to use to close the camp were being used for other things, including the missing in action soldier who is now a prisoner of war, having walked off his base. including a different military operation north of camp keating, including president karzai not
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wanting mcchrystal to close down any bases before the august 2009 election because that would signal weakness, including the fact that mcchrystal and obama were engaged in a back-and-forth about troop levels and mcchrystal's report about how many troops should come to the country. >> and mcchrystal told colonel george he didn't want to get ahead of the president is one point where he was being sensitive after many, many back and forth about whether or not the generals he was trying to exert too much power. >> ultimately he made the decision to delay it and i think there were a lot of people who were very upset about that. >> rose: why did they call it camp keating. >> ben keating was the second in command at combat outpost what was then called camp can desh. >> camp keating was a young man from, his parent were ministers, he was very devout republican
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who had really come to have his doubts about the war and he was killed in a horrible accident that had to do with the fact that the terrain is so difficult there. it is one of the things that was so interesting, to me charlie is that in that part of afghanistan, the foot of the hindu kush mountain range the land is just as dangerous as the taliban and you have soldier after soldier killed because these roads are not meant for the trucks we have there or the mountains are too jagged for our helicopters to fly and land there. and ben keating was killed driving a truck and he sounds like an amazing guy, i wish i had gotten to know him. >> rose: how does battle like this change soldiers? >> it changes them forever, i now hear from, i mean, i heard from them while writing the book but now i have heard from them even more wives in particular, but also troops who have now
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been subjected to madness. >> rose: madness?. the madness of war, the madness of post-traumatic stress disorder, the madness of trying to resub murj yourself in a culture people are man there is not enough foam on their latte. >> i am serious one guy told me about that he almost snapped in line to starbucks. >> rose: because he wanted to say. >> look you shouldn't be mad about the foaming. >> being there and talking and telling this story. >> did you get any sense of how the military sees afghanistan at the ground level? >> because we know what the generals are telling the president. >> yeah. >> which i am not sure is always completely reflective of what is going on. >> that's my point. >> it is the story you heard from soldiers at the level that
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you talked to different from the stories you think the president hears from the generals who talk to him or talk to chairman of joint chiefs or secretary of defense. >> there are two schools of thought, one of them is, and this is from, you know, thousands of conversations with hundreds of troops ranging from privates to let's limit it to the lieutenant colonel level. or captain, one school of thought is, they don't want us there, there is nothing we can do. our presence is now doing more harm than good. which i think is starting to become a prove prevalent view among some policy makers that we have been there long enough that it is actually now bad, they are turning against us because of all of the civilians that have been killed and they don't want us there. there is another school of thought that court insurgency is
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possible, it is achievable you can bond these people to their government and we can leave this country a stronger, safer place and a place where the taliban and where al qaeda or al qaeda like group will not be able to find safe haven. but that second group is in the minority. i think the most, for the most part the people i talk to, and with some honorable exceptions, think that there is nothing more you can do, you can train the afghan troops, and then get out, and -- but there is not much more you can do. >> rose: this book is called the outpost, untold story of american central lohr, thank you. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: pleasure to see you. back in a moment, stay with us. >> rose: ian mcewan is here, hhe is the rare breed of novelit add hired by much by the reading public as by the critics, his books sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. they include amsterdam, which
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would the booker prize and atonement add at that particular timed into a film, his latest novel is called sweet tooth, it is a tale of espionage and love set in 1970s britain, i am pleased to have ian mcewan back at this table, welcome. >> thank you. >> dedicated to crystal mchitchens who died and your great friend. >> there is whe when i when i tk about this and you told me this before, the great debate you and hitch had about phillip lark kins poem and the last line, what was the essence of that? >> the ses -- the essence really was the arrows falling somewhere out of sight like rain. hitch on his deathbed pound that line deeply sinister. so this is a poem about a train journey from somewhere like hull
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to london, the poet watches all of these couples recently married on the train, it is a frail traveling coincidence, they arrive in london and their lives will diverge, and it is as if this is like rain falling across the squares of wheat, the postal district, packed like wheat, to hitch, that was something profoundly sinister, to me, it was neutral, and we had a conversation there and he was two weeks before the end of life, and when i got home, there was an e-mail, dearest ian i have been thinking about what you said, i am pretty sure you are wrong, the argument continues. he wanted to -- >> rose:. >> he used a word liquisence. >> all suggestions of rain to me are sinister here and i think hitch, there is nothing sinister about rain it is life giving. >> rose: ho how do you use that word. >> he said the liquisence in
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itself is sinister. >> i wanted to write back and said and say how pretentious can you get? >> there are things you cannot say to a dying man. >> so i wanted, i was looking, casting around for an interesting little discussion in an after-hours pub in london so i this was actually going on that week so i imported it. tell me about serena. >> serena graduates, serena, frume, rhymes with plume, she came with a poor degree with mathematics and has an affair with an older man and leads to her joining mi 5 which is our intelligence organization and it gets called into what we called the cultural cold war and i draw up a list of ten academics,
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journalist writers that they favor because they are in general promoting the open society, skeptical about the soviet union and so on, and serena is sent down to coax a young novelist to see if he would like to give up his teaching job and have a yearly stipend from this art foundation which is a front organization, and this being a spy novel they have to fall in love so that is really -- at least that is the setup. >> rose: why are novelists attracted to spy novels? >> well, maybe all forms are spy novels, and maybe all novelists are spies on people -- >> rose: mirrors on top of mirrors on top of mirrors? >> well we watch. >> we try to gauge motivations, we try to do that thing that all intelligence agencies do which is take control of the narrative, so in that sense, we understand the spy novel, it is maybe the, it is the fiction of
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our crass and i guess for english writers, i don't know about american writers, the center of this sits canny old john -- >> who you think will be judged simply as a literary figure. >> i think it is now happening, lots of .. my writer friend think tinker taylor, soldier spy is one of the key postwar forms, the great novel that charts british decline in the second half of the 20th century, and anxiety. so, yes, he is both the bounds of the spy novel and i think we now think of him as a wonderful english novelist. >> rose: but was he -- i mean, he had to come around to, one, as he thought about what he wanted to write about, and not to go back, i mean he was looking at a world in which there was not this great competition between the east and the west, as we knew it.
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>> yes, he spilled out into islamist terrorism and all other kinds of plots but i think we still will always associate him with the cold war. >> rose: yeah. >> i had a nice lunch with him to ask him some questions, in the course of my research. >> rose: what was that about. >> about this book. >> yes -- >> this is. >> rose: john here and you here. >> yeah. we had lunch in oxford, highly recommended. >> rose: and how did you start the conversation? >> well, we were with -- we were brought together by our prepared tim. >> rose: international affairs. >> yes, we started i said was mi 5 indeed the second cousin of mi 6 which does international terrorism and spy stuff. and he works in both. and he said, well, to some
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extent, yes, in those days, certainly not now, mi 5 is extremely well funded post 9/11 and he told wonderful stories and this is the difference between this generation, my generation, we say william boyd and others who write about spies, his generation, who actually were working for the intelligence agency, as did gram green and ian fleming, they were insiders who turned followed lists and we are novelists appearing -- >> peering at the inside the. >> rose: what advice did you learn from him as a result of this? >> he told me one wonderful thing and afterwards, i wrote and said can i use this or have you already used it or planning to use it? and it was this. he said the strange thing about working in intelligence agency is you never know really what everyone else is doing. and you never know whether they are incredibly stupid or
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unbelievably clever. and there is to way of telling and it is something that disappears. you never know whether they have been posted or stacked, and i thought, oh, spies in a kind of fog. i like that idea. >> rose: there is also the notion of do they know the difference between truth and lying at some point? >> it is a very gray area. it is in a gray area, really, of character serena that much of their work is done, i mean, really what is interesting about this is the cia spent millions, tens, hundred of millions on what we now call the cultural cold war, the plan was really to persuade left of center intellectuals, especially in europe that the west, particularly the united states, was the powerhouse of culture and ideas, that it wasn't any of the soviet experiment had died, and the best people to do that for you were ex-communists and
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democratic socialists what the cia used to call the ncl, the noncomist left. and so amazingly enough, when the house of unamerican activities got going, some cia operatives found themselves right in the line of fire because they had so many connections to the democratic socialist left across europe, the mccarthy items were very worried by these guys .. and some were professors who had left leaning tendencies themselves but they were democrats,. >> rose: wha and what do you mae of the french who came to the real situation that is soviet union was not what they believed it to be, you know, french intellectuals? >> they rather took their time over this realization. i mean by now we all have the hindsight benefit there of. but i would like to think i would have dipped out somewhere around the stalinist -- >> rose: yes that would be a place to say not what -- >> if you didn't get it then you
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should got it around the nazi -- >> later, then there was -- >> german uprising of 53, there was hungary in 56 and yet still, i mean, the great historian says i never left the party, it left me. >> rose: right, right. >> but still it lingered on i mean all of the great anti-communists socialists, you know, were very, very clearheaded about this, but many others saw to be included in and varies -- various cronies, still hung on to some notion that there was a middle position that was invidious that the west was just as bad. >> they would say hell on both houses. this is the easy way, but what attracted me to this
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was how you could spend millions on promoting the free, open society but do it in secret. >> rose: yeah. >> completely defeating the whole purpose, in other words, give people money and not tell them where it is coming from, from a foundation, it is a paradox. >> . and the idea is this is small stuff, not big stuff. >> this is very -- this is the cash strapped britain in early 72 facing unbelievable problems on every front and really, we really felt ourselves going down the tube, we had industrial unrest on a colossal -- we had sort of thick headed management and energy crises one after the other and edward heath premiership, 70 to 74 we had five states of emergency where the government took to itself emergency powers, because the whole fabric seemed to be unwinding. >> rose: today they changed the constitution. >> yeah.
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>> looking at egypt i still say we were fine compared to egypt, actually. >> rose: here is what you have timothy garden ash quote quoted as saying. in the epigraph. >> if only i had method on this search a single clearly evil person. >> yes. this is from tim garnish, his book, about discovering his own -- yes, what intrigues me about this remark, right at the end of his wonderful book is, that lots of ordinary, not particularly bad, not heroically good people can do terrible things within a bad system so someone like my heroine serena can fall in love with a man that falls in love with her and tell him endless lies because it is too late, it
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is too late to get out of it, and how systems can make people behave really badly, so that they do all kinds of husband informing on wives inside the old east german system in order to keep their children in their university place, it left a terrible, terrible divorces and around post 1989 when the walls came down and they started to read their files and found out their lover, their husband was informing on them, their best friend, it didn't take evil. the system was evil. >> rose: is serena in some way, this has been some by sod fer some former girlfriend, now deceased polly -- >> certainly not, we have -- >> rose: you have seen that. >> i saw it in a tabloid and i was very cross about it. >> rose:. >> yes, you should be. >> she was a dear friend and my first love and i still in very close contact with her grownup children now.
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she would be about the last person to work for mi 5, so i think -- and it is not based on her. >> rose: you thought she was what. >> i think it was a terrible thing to say. it was an exciting story she looked rather matahari striding across a beach and there it is we have that kind of press. >> when you. >> rose: what is the essence and we have talked about this, and back to the relationship between serena and tom. >> yes. >> rose: beyond the fact that she is in love but she can't tell him things, what else is it about them that makes us -- >> well, tom is a short-story writer and novelist, and the first that serena really knows about him is all of his fiction, she reads his stories before she meets him, so in a way this was a novel not really about spying, it is about reading and writing. >> rose:. >> yes, i know.
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>> so really this is a front, the spy novel, because this is really about -- >> rose: about poems and -- >> yes. and the gap between, the gap we all nosedly, very low but understandable curiosity have in writers what is clear is that we accept that there is a real difference in reading a novel by someone you know and someone you don't. if you can hear that voice, if you know a little bit -- if a friend of you gives you a novel, because novels are so personal you read it in a different way so she falls in love with his writing and then she meets the man and then has to gauge the gap, if there is one, between what she reads and who he is. so she is spying on him. >> rose: love with what he writes? >> she falls in love with what he writes. she is jealous when. >> a love scene in some of her stories he is jealous of the women in her stories already and
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had hasn't met him so it is that calculation that she makes about who he is that she then have to refine as she comes to love him in the flesh. >> rose: you have said there are two types of desire in readers, one is to the kind of novel serena loves and recognize themselves in their own environment and recreate it on the page that is socially real, documentary kind of quality, not fundamentally in different in aesthetic in the 20th century novel. >> and the other is post modern in spirit that reflects on processes, interrogates its own meanings and so on, serena loves one and tom hayley loved the other. and i wanted them to love each other. >> what i tried to do, let me explain that. serena loves to read novels and have people in it like herself and she likes novels set in london and around about now, in 1972. she wants to see herself reflected back in, and her world
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reflected back and that is an impulse i actually share too. >> tom, her lover hates all of that kind of writing, he likes, you know, thomas p. ihchot and he likes john bath and gaddis, the great american experimental writers. >> they hate each other's fiction. so i thought the purpose of sweet tooth, the novel, was for me to write the book that they would both love, that would have the tricks, but it would have a flesh and blood impelling fair tive that the reader would have to be drawn into and all the tricks would have to serve, the tricks are not just there for trick's sakes, when there is a trick at the end and i won't divulge it. >> rose: right. >> it is entirely functional to the serena side of the novel, so i want the flesh and blood and i want the pure pleasure of
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playing the became. >> rose: are you surprised at the commercial success of your novels? >> well, i didn't really have any until i guess atonement, on any scale, so. >> rose: made into movies. >> well, six or seven but -- but only a tone. -- >> rose: what does that say to you. >> it says i like characters and everybody is always looking for books with characters and plots so i think -- >> rose: but also, i mean, it is that, but you also. >> rose: i mean, sometimes you read people and it has such a movie quality to it, you know, and the writing is good, but there is a movie quality to what you see unfolding in your mind's eye. a narrative. >> i think the novel long before the cinema as a visual medium,
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if you want to get to the heart of an emotional scene, two-lovers having a quarrel, say, to get into the reader's eye the precise visual go mepts of the scene, where they are, what they look like, everything there, you then have the quickest route into the emotional part of it, so i have always felt and i remember reading when i was an undergraduate one of the great presages of joseph conrad, the narcissist and he says my impulse, my desire is to make you see and this has been a very famous remark of his, but it meant a lot to me. >> rose: to make you see. >> to make you see. and that made a huge impression on me as a young writer, and i thought, on top of that, the way into the heart of the emotional quality of a scene is to set the
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-- i mean 40 percent of our brains is devoted to visual processing, seeing is what we do, you know, we are really good at it, we have fantastic -- doesn't it cross your mind now and then what a miracle it is what is happening on your retina? >> rose: this book is called sweet tooth, thank you. as always. >> thank you, charlie, it was a pleasure. >> rose: we will be right back. stay with us. >> rose: ornstein is here, he is a long time observer of the u.s. congress for years he and his colleague thomas than have studied the route causes of government dysfunction, they have written a gnaw book about the most pressing problems in our political system and how we might solve them, it is called it is even worse than it looks how the american political system collided with the politics of extremism. i am proud to have ornstein back at this table. >> thank you it is always great to be here. >> rose: let's talk about
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today, at the weekend, at the white house, john boehner, president of the united states met representing the congress and representing the presidency, a lot of people i have had a conversation with, at long last that is the way it ought to be done. will it be successful? >> ultimately it will be successful but one of the things we need to keep in mind and every time we look at the daily statements that suggest that the end is nigh is this is an end game and end games end at the end, in this case it is the end of the year the tricky part for them now is you can't have a deal by the end of the year, it takes at least a week to have it scored by the congressional budget office so we are looking at developing the rudiments of a deal and it can't be done without boehner and obama breag on something, even then it is going to be a heavy lift. >> rose: and how might an agreement take place? >> you know. >> logistics of it will be he
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will come up with something that could be a budget agreement, a new one with reconciliation instructions so they have to implement the pieces of it or see it pushed back for a month while you have at least the structure in place and we know basically what the deal will include. they have got to come up with the numbers on revenues and first boehner and obama have to agree on a number, somewhere between 800 billion which is what boehner has offered, 1.6 trillion which is what obama has demanded, 1.2 trillion sound about right doesn't it and then decide how you adjust the rates, whether it is 39.6 percent as obama has demanded or something less than that going down toward 35, whether the threshold is 250,000 and then how you can make up the rest of the revenue and then you have to agree on a dollar amount for what you will do with medicare and medicaid and even bring social security into the mix and the goal here, charlie is to do something where bain kerr get 120 republicans, just over a majority of his own
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members and then get 100 democrats, so we are not going to get beyond that kind of rough deal right now, the rest of it will come a few months down the road. >> rose: but what makes you think it will come a few months down the road? >> you know,, we have reached a small amount of the dysfunction, leeched a bit of the dysfunction out of the system with this last election. there are many more republicans that realize it is not in our interest to go over any cliff because the short-term politics will work to their advantage. the tax issue which has been the difficult part, the super committee, you know, we had, this i call it the avengers in politics, with powers untold in our history, that couldn't reach an agreement because taxes, the republicans simply wouldn't agree to any significant increase in taxes, now they are talking what amount it is will reach that point and i am confident we will get something done, but i have to tell you, charlie, you know, this book suggest ms. the 43 years that
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tom and i have been immersed in this process this washington we have never seen it this dysfunction, the election as i said purged a part of that but we are nowhere near having a broader agreement that will really get us in a simpson-bowles type direction of, you know, four or five trillion over the next ten years. it is going to take some really serious twists and turns, and maybe the markets reacting violently after a failure -- >> rose: will the senate do it. >> ultimately it will get done and i think you have a lot of republican leaders now who are saying, you know, let's just be like obie one a nobody and give up on this one and live to fight other battles a little further down the road. >> rose: that is certainly the .. advice that has been given to boehner, isn't it? fight another day for entitlement cuts, spending. >> and there is little down in my mind and knowing boehner that is what he wants to do. the trick for boehner is getting
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the 120 votes,ment and a caucus that moved further to the right with this selection and with a lot of intransigent people and now at least one figure, tom price who has been a very conservative member of the leadership making noises about challenging him if it doesn't work, he had the headaches from the other leadership members he is a legislature, sea conservative but wants to make deals and he knows now it is in the republican's interest to make a deal and poll after poll suggesting they will be blamed if they don't. >> rose: that's why it is in their interest, what other reason is it in their interest other than that, and in the best interest of the country. >> those are good reasons. >> rose: but what else is there? >> actually one of the more interesting things here is i have often written about the perils of the second term presidency, you are a lame duck, and in this case, the lame duck saw status actually works to the advantage of a deal. republicans know that they have got obama for four more years and no more, and obama can go to
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them and say i have got four years and if i have to take a hit right now, because i don't like the terms of the deal, i can do it and i will survive, you will be the ones who won't, and politically, i will get out there to the country, where my approval rating has gone up to its highest level in years in the mid to upper fifties and where people believe that you are responsible for gridlock and i will make that case per sway civil and aggressively, that doesn't leave them with a lot of additional leverage right now. >> rose: so -- >> i think you have got other issues that republicans would like to fight on, healthcare, you have got tax reform and a part of this deal is a promise of further tax reform, continuing to fight over the same things that we have been fighting over for four years doesn't make a lot of sense. >> rose: this book, it is even worse than it looks, you say that this partisanship, this dysfunction facility began with newt gingrich when he was such a
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visceral, such a vocal and hard driving back bencher. >> and, you know, we met, tom and i met newt right after he had come to congress in 1978. we set up together at the american enterprise institute a regular set of dinners with a group of new members coming in, and we had quite a remarkable crew. >> rose: right. >> dick cheney, geraldine ferraro and newt gingrich among them, newt from 1978 on knew his approach to winning the republican majority, and i have some sympathy with him because it was 24 straight years of democratic rule in the house when he came in, it took 16 more years to make it work. but the fact is, he tribal lied the place, and his strategy was to get americans to say, not just -- well i hate the congress but my own individual member is terrific. >> rose: right. >> but instead to say this is so bad that anything would be better, nationalizing by tribal liesing and that .. began a process where you had a radicalization of forces and the
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use of the ethics process as a weapon for political purposes, a whole series of things that took us down a bad, bad road and if you put that together with the rise of talk radio and the partisan media turning into a tribal media, and then throw into the toxic mix a grover nordquist you have the reasons why it is so bad. >> rose: is nordquist losing some of his power? >> i think he is, yes. and i think almost inevitably, this is a deal that is going to increase the top rates. i mean, frankly, we have fallen back to a point where the most significant thing is tax rates, when there is zero evidence throughout history that marginal tax rates are the only thing that matters, and we have the most explosive growth in the country when the marginal tax rate was 90 percent in the period after the second world war, you can't deny the clinton years, eight years of robust growth with a top rate of 39.6, and then you drop the rates and we have sluggish growth for eight years but that has become
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the battle cry it tells us that taxes have become -- and they worked politically for a long time, almost a religious thing with a lot of republicans, and for whatever reason, they have fallen back on rates as the big thing that matters, you know, some of that goes back, let's face it to arthur laughter and the laughter curve. but it doesn't matter what the evidence is, that has become a religious precept and it is very hard to drop one of those but i think nordquist who has been, you have to admire the way in which he has been able to pull in pledge together and make it work for so long, is going to take a hit this time. >> rose: and enough of a hit so that boehner will have a caucus he is less afraid of as he has been in the past? >> i think if boehner manages to pull off a deal and it is a deal that is accepted by his colleagues as the best that one could do under extremely unfavorable circumstances, he will emerge stronger rather than weaker after this. but, boy, this is a treacherous
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path, because it is very possible that you end up with a deal that has less in entitlement changes than many republicans want and the broader context of this is you have a republican party after this election, not just in the house, fighting for who is going to emerge with the narrative after a terrible election, and you have got groups like those led by rush limbaugh saying, never give up, never surrender, we didn't do anything wrong, they will come to us. you have got others saying, all we have to do is flip the switch on immigration, turn amnesty from a four-letter word to a seven letter word and everything else will stay the same and then you have the pragmatists saying we have a different political environment now and we have to change our message and not just the words but some of the context of it, boehner is really in that group along with people like jeb bush and haley barbour and there are going to be a lot of forces who want to see that group fail. >> rose: you knee what is interesting on the republican side in terms of fiewp presidential aspirants is marco
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rubio. >> and he is trying to walk a feign line, keeping those conservatives of the never give up, never surrender category, at least those who want an immigration bill in his camp while also reaching out to those moderates and this is going to be a very interesting test, can you walk that tightrope or walk through that minefield and have success? i think he may be the leader who is able to reach an agreement on an immigration bill and that will give him a big impetus forward. but whether he can navigate through the fiscal matters but also some of these social manners after he fell a little bit flat by suggesting he didn't know how old the earth was, that shows you that he has got a little work to do. >> rose: who else do you like on the republican side? >> i am still dash this book takes some real shots at the contemporary republican party, as no longer a conservative party but a radical party.
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>> rose: you painted them as dysfunctional -- >> i want a robust republican party which i know will be a conservative party, it has to be a problem solving party. i lamented in the last column i did the death of rudman who was a great problem solver. >> rose: also a great at looking at some kind of effort to find a central brandt to, to fix the economic. >> and he is a great problem solver and it is interesting to see if jeb bush who is is also a very conservative problem solver, pragmatist, can overcome the bush name the next time around as well. you have got some figures out there, many of them governors who are attractive. >> rose: i saw an article today that says the president cannot because of the overwhelming urgency of dealing with the economic problem will not have great, bold initiatives in his four years. >> i am not so sure about that and, you know, normally, i am skeptical of what can happen in second term president cities you
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rarely get a major narrative. with the natural gas boom you have a great opportunity to transform energy policy. there is an interesting new e book by reid hunt, former chairman of the sec and former head of the broadband initiative that suggests if we rebuild the power grid and rebuild the knowledge grid, with robust moves on the broadband area, you could have a real trance formation of the country. you put some of those things together with a tax reform, if you decide to get really bold on tax reform and not just do income taxes where you might have something that is more memorable, and remember we have got 1.6 or $1.7 trillion in cash sitting in corporate coffers, get past this deadlock, you start to move some of that money into investment in the economy, you do things like what hunt levine want which is to bring back some of that corporate money into a public private partnership on an infrastructure
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bank, you know you could see something more done. but, you know, at the same time we always have to be aware of the second term blues. it is not easy, even with functional political process, and our political process is nowhere near functionality point. >> rose: it is great to have you here. always a pleasure. >> thanks, charlie. >> rose: norm ornstein, he is at brookings. >> it is even worse than it looks how the american constitutional system collided with the new politics of extremism. thanks for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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>> rose: funding for charlie rose has been provided by the coca-cola company, supporting this program since 2002. and american express. additional funding provided by these funders. and imi bloomberg, a provider of
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multimedia news and information services worldwide. be
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captioning sponsored by wpbt >> this is n.b.r. >> susie: good evening, everyone. i'm susie gharib. a surprising pledge from the federal reserve today. it will keep interest rates super low until unemployment drops to 6.5%. >> tom: good evening,. i'm tom hudson. the central bank also will continue buying billions of dollars of government bonds in its effort to keep interest rates low. pimco c.e.o. mohamed el-erian will join us. >> susie: and the legal marijuana business-- two states okaying it for recreational use. we talk with one company profiting from medical marijuana products.

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